We all know how much those first few weeks at home are with a newborn. They’re even a blur for me still with a 2 year (add a 5 month old into the mix and I’m a frazzled mess) and some days I just can’t be f*cked with the hassle of going to the supermarket let alone out in public at all.
We were introduced to The Baby Bag a couple of months ago after seeing their content in my Instagram feed and I had to give it a go and see what all the fuss is about.
They’d just made some big changes to their website, including the introduction of some logic to improve their user experience and make the end result that much better. I am all about good design and customer experience so I put it to the test and boy was I impressed. This service is a total game changer for busy parents like me.
You can just shop like normal, or you can add a few basic details about your wee ones so that their website recommends products based on their age/stage (nappies, food, baby care etc). Their site is super easy to use and navigate. What’s better? They stock the very best products.
If you choose to use the smart suggestions, the website pre-populates your bag for you when you log in based on what you’ve ordered in the past and what the system thinks you’ll need next. Confirm your bag and it’ll be on your doorstep within a day, sometimes even the same day dependent on your location!
No more running out of nappies and having to do the dreaded nappy run in your PJ’s.
My fav part about the service? It’s created by Mums, for Mums all here in NZ!
I absolutely love what Jessie and her husband created after starting their own family and realising the lack of infrastructure that existed to support parents like us. Baby supplies are required in such high frequency by all of us who typically have very little flexibility in our daily routine.
Jessie Jarvie, the founder is a Mum, just like us – doing big things.
Armed with the determination to revolutionise parenting as we know it, they launched The Baby Bag and I wanted to ask them some questions about it.
What gave you the idea to start The Baby Bag?
Before my youngest boy Franklin arrived, my husband and I were both working full time. The needs of our biggest boy, George, were always changing. From puree to soft lumps to fork mashed; from newborn to infant to crawler to walker. We changed nappy brands a few times. Then there came teething. A gummy eye. Dry skin. Nappy rash. Eczema. Little people are so dynamic. My husband would swing by the supermarket after a long day at work to pick up some more wipes. There were a couple of packaged food brands that I was having to get online. I used to try and keep some good quality frozen meals in the freezer for those days when it would all fall to bits, but they weren’t available at our local supermarket. Then I’d frequent the organic grocer for natural remedies for his eczema. I don’t know how many times in that first year I visited the pharmacy. I don’t know how many times I asked Doctor Google strange questions (have you ever had that sense of relief though, when the text field populates your question for you, before you’ve finished typing? Meaning there must be other parents out there asking weird stuff too!). It was 2013. It felt like there were support services around for everyone and everything – except for busy little families like ours. We were shocked at the lack of infrastructure that existed to help young families in New Zealand to thrive.
When my second little boy arrived, the nature of the problem changed. The idea of going anywhere with a really little baby can be quite scary. Paul is part Chinese and there is a wonderful Chinese practice of home confinement for one month after childbirth. This is literally called “sitting the month,” as new mothers are pretty much expected to just sit around in their pyjamas for a month to recover from bringing new life into the world (and so they should, right?) but oh god they need so many darn nappies. And who knew you could go through an entire box of maternity pads in one day?
After the newborn phase, getting your hands on the stuff your kids need continues to be challenging, equally for stay at home parents as for working parents. One babe is asleep (and none of us want to disturb that!) or the other one decides he’s hungry just as you pull into the carpark. Maybe you’re rushing home from a busy day just to chill out with your partner or get into the bath/dinner/bed routine before a meltdown. Maybe it’s raining and the thought of racing into the supermarket with one on your hip and one in the capsule is a bit overwhelming. We found that as a busy family we had quality groceries at our fingertips – we frequented local weekend markets and we were able to utilize services like My Food Bag or smaller food stores that proved to be quicker and easier. But baby supplies were continually a challenge.
We had learnt that becoming a parent was the most simultaneously wonderful and exhausting experience – an adventure like no other, and we wanted to create some infrastructure to make the road a little less rocky. In May of 2015, we launched The Baby Bag from a tiny little office in Grey Lynn, and since then we’ve been offering quick, reliable and cost effective delivery of the country’s widest range of baby supplies to thousands of New Zealand families.
In May of this year, we released a new website that introduced our Smart Suggestions. These suggestions were always part of the long term version but they were data driven, so we needed a couple of years experience behind us first. Our Smart Suggestions offer parents intuitive recommendations, based on their babe’s age and stage. They’re designed to support parents throughout the journey of a little person’s ever-changing needs, whether it be recommending you moving up to a bigger nappy size before disaster strikes, introducing the right flavours and food textures at the right time, or foreseeing teething habits, sleep regressions and flu seasons before they hit the home front; we do our best to take the guess work out of the equation for new mums and dads. It’s awesome and their potential gets me super excited.
What does a typical day for you look like?
My house is a jungle. I don’t think I could be an Instamum! Maybe I should try? My oldest boy George usually comes and wakes me up, typically demanding breakfast. He hops into my bed for a cuddle first, which is the best. My littlest is awake soon after and the whole house comes to life as we prepare for the day ahead, eating breakfast, filling lunch boxes, getting dressed and heading to kindy. It’s particularly jungle like at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. Lucky they’re cute.
The boys are both finish kindy at 2.30pm, which means I have short working days, and most of the time I split shift so that I can spend the arvo with them and then long back on at night to get through any unfinished business. Team baby bag likes to be ‘on call’ for our customers at any time of the day, so it’s not uncommon for me to be speaking to a customer with the boys causing chaos in the background but I’m okay with that, it’s a reality. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be a parent while helping other parents, too. I feel like that was something missing at the beginning of my own parenting journey, so I’m proud of the service that we provide and it gives me a real kick to be a listening ear.
I have Thursday’s off with the boys and we usually plan one special activity together – scooter riding somewhere new, Uptown Bouncing, the zoo, or visiting Dad at work for an early dinner at the local Japanese place. I try to intentionally plan just one activity for those Thursdays, and no more than that. I’m terrible at overcommitting to everything, but I want my kids to be bored every now and again too, as I know it’s where they find their creativity and their peace. One of my favourite things to do is sit on the couch (usually with a cold cup of tea – what would #mumlife be without cold tea?) and watch them in their playroom together. They fight a lot – but they have a heck of a lot of fun, too! At the end of the day, I suss their dinner and my husband susses our dinner. We’re both exhausted by the time they’re in bed, but then parenting and exhaustion are kind of hand in hand. I’m super grateful for my brood and we’ll be introducing another one come January 🙂
How do you maintain a good work/life balance?
I don’t get much of that, but to be completely frank with you – I’m not a big believer in work life balance. I think striving for that mythical concept creates more stress than it’s worth. Us women constantly beat ourselves up because if we’re being a good mum, we can’t possibly be doing a good job at work. If we’re enjoying our work, we mustn’t be seeing enough of our children! The key is to accept that there won’t always be a balance.
I think the most important skill a mum can have (whether she’s working outside of the home or in the home, both equally as tough as the other) is to realise when things become too imbalanced. That’s when she needs to sit down with her support network of people who care about her, and her children, and make changes. When I feel like things are getting on top of me, I break them down into bite sized chunks. My mum always says, ‘eat the elephant one bite at a time’. I’m a big list writer too. I have so many lists!
Future plans for TBB?
To continue to rock the socks off New Zealand’s parenting community, one bite at a time.
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This post has been in collaboration with The Baby Bag. All views, opinions and writing is my own and we do not work with anybody we do not know, support and/or love. Please support the brands that support this blog.